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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 27, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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"nightly news," is next. >> back at 6:00. bye. tonight, war inside the white house. the president's new coms director leveling vulgar attacks at chief of staff reince priebus. does priebus still have the president's confidence? the white house won't say. gay rights controversy. the justice department drops a bombshell saying lgbt workers are not protected from discrimination under the law while backlash grows to the president's transgender military ban. state fair horror. a ride breaks apart, killing a marine recruit and injuring several others. how could it have happened? brave new world? for the first time in the u.s. scientists take a major but controversial leap toward eliminating diseases in babies before they're born. and emotional salute. hundreds turn out to give a marine dog a hero's farewell.
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"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west, and thanks for being with us tonight. the man tapped by the president to improve the white house's messaging and media coverage has instead emerged as the central figure in a headline-making white house power struggle, exposing an internal rivalry that today led to some nasty allegations, threats, and some pretty vulgar language. an oval office photo of new white house communications director anthony scaramucci and chief of staff reince priebus appears to capture the standoff between the two bitter rivals who are competing for power, influence and the president's ear. white house correspondent kristen welker has details. >> reporter: tonight, a profanity-laced tirade from the new white house communications director, anthony
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scaramucci, targeting two of the president's top advisers. scaramucci telling "the new yorker" chief of staff reince priebus is an expletive paranoid schizophrenic and attacking chief strategist steve bannon in such vulgar terms they cannot be repeated on television, also calling him a media-hungry self-promoter. sources inside and outside the white house say both priebus and bannon tried to block scaramucci from joining the administration. it comes as scaramucci is publicly feuding with priebus, too. this morning scaramucci referring to priebus in stark terms. >> some brothers are like cain and abel. >> reporter: the biblical reference of brotherly murder bolstering speculation of a deep divide which started overnight when scaramucci claimed his financial disclosure form was leaked out even though it's public record and seemed to point the finger at priebus in a tweet which was later deleted. this morning scaramucci backed off blaming priebus directly for leaking, but then this. >> if reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that. >> reporter: today the
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white house press secretary dodged questions about whether the president has confidence in priebus. >> he'll make that decision. we all serve at the pleasure of the president. >> reporter: but this isn't the only public feud at the white house. the president has spent days sharply criticizing attorney general jeff sessions for recusing himself from the russia investigation, citing a conflict of interest as a former campaign adviser. tonight sessions speaking out in his most candid terms yet. >> well, it's kind of hurtful, but the president of the united states is a strong leader. he's steadfastly determined to get his job done, and he wants all of us to do our jobs, and that's what i intend to do. >> reporter: sessions still fiercely loyal even as speculation swirls the president is considering a recess appointment to replace him. >> the infighting in the administration is eclipsing the agenda. and i think that's why so many republicans are rattled. >> reporter: late tonight scaramucci tweeted not denying the conversation saying, quote, "i sometimes use colorful
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language. i will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for donald trump's agenda." the press secretary, priebus and bannon all declined to comment. lester? >> kristen welker at the white house starting us off. just a day after president trump announced a ban on transgender troops in the military, his administration is once again rocking the nation's lgbt community. the justice department now arguing civil rights laws do not ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams has the story. >> reporter: it's another big setback for a community that candidate donald trump pledged to support. the justice department says flatly that federal civil rights law does not ban discrimination against gays and lesbians. it comes in a lawsuit against a new york skydiving company. one of its instructors, daniel zarda, claimed he was fired for being gay. he said that violated the civil rights act, which among other things bans discrimination, quote,
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"because of sex." but the justice department has now stepped into that case even though the government isn't involved, to say the law applies only to discrimination that treats men and women differently. that brief was filed wednesday, the same day the president said transgender people cannot serve in the u.s. military. >> i think the community feels very much under attack and under siege by this administration. in a very real sense it's the administration's anti-lgbt day. >> reporter: caught off guard by the president's tweeting on transgender military service, the pentagon is trying to work out what it means. in a memo to all commanders general joe dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs, says there will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's directive is made formal. "for now," he says, "we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect." that spells uncertainty for transgender service members like mia mason after five tours in iraq and afghanistan. >> very costly for me.
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i lose my healthcare. i lose my pension, and those are things that i've earned for the 18 years i've served. >> reporter: as for the civil rights law, most federal courts have ruled that it does not ban job discrimination against gays and lesbians, but this latest filing is a clear break from what the obama administration said the law should be. lester? >> pete williams, thank you. it's expected to be a very long night in the u.s. senate where republicans are in a marathon session leading up to an expected vote on a so-called skinny repeal that would do away with some but not all of obamacare. we get the latest from nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt. >> we all know this is likely to be a very long night. >> reporter: voting is under way tonight as senate republicans try to pass something, anything, that would roll back parts of obamacare. the pressure so intense republicans are preparing to vote yes on a skinny repeal bill on the condition it never becomes law. >> not only do we not replace obamacare. we politically own the
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collapse of health care. i'd rather get out of the way and let it collapse than have a half-ass approach where it is now our problem. >> reporter: president trump egging them on on twitter but also reportedly issuing threats. "the alaska dispatch news" writing the trump administration threatened to punish alaska after republican senator lisa murkowski voted against debating health care. >> i'm a pretty, pretty strong and independent individual. i listen to the input from all sides. >> reporter: tonight republicans are worried the skinny bill would have an outsize impact. the plan would repeal the individual mandate to buy insurance and partially repeal requirements for employers to provide care. a congressional budget office estimate showed as many as 16 million people could lose insurance if the mandates are repealed and premiums could rise up to 20% every year. does skinny repeal actually fulfill the promise you've been making for seven years? >> it is anybody's guess what they come out with.
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so we're going to reserve judgment until we see what the senate actually produces. >> reporter: all the uncertainty worries theresa bohannan. her son was born with a rare heart condition. >> i think they should meet with people. i think they should slow down and hear as many stories as they can. >> reporter: pleading with congress to get it right instead of just getting it done. senate republicans have been in touch with house speaker paul ryan looking for him to make a pledge that he'll compromise instead of just passing the skinny bill. that's what's going to make or break this vote in the senate. we are expecting a very late night tonight. lester? >> all right, kasie, thank you very much. the leader of the boy scouts of america issued an apology today for president trump's eyebrow-raising speech at the group's annual jamboree earlier this week. in a letter released publicly, the scouts chief said he was sorry for "political rhetoric" that was inserted during the event and says the group remains nonpartisan. the white house fired back saying the crowd
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seemed pretty excited by what the president had to say. now to the investigation into what caused a horrifying accident at the ohio state fair that was caught on camera. one young man, a new marine recruit, was killed and several other people were injured when the ride they were on suddenly went haywire. nbc's blake mccoy now with the latest. >> reporter: tonight, investigators are working to determine what caused this horrific ride malfunction at the ohio state fair. several riders flung airborne as one of the gondolas detach, crashing to the ground. >> the fire ball, the ride in the back left corner broke. >> hang on. >> people went flying. >> hard to get out of your head. >> reporter: these two sisters were next in line to ride and frantically called their mom. >> just to hear the terror in their voice, and it was just indescribable. >> reporter: tyler jarrell was killed. 18 years old, he had just signed up for marines. seven other people injured, some critically. jennifer lambert is in
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a medically induced coma. denise gonzalez is her mother. >> she was such a healthy young lady, only 18, trying to have fun, and this is what happened. >> reporter: all rides at the state fair are now shut down and being reinspected. ohio has some of the toughest ride inspection standards of any state. 11 rides didn't open wednesday because they hadn't been given the green light. fire ball had been looked at several times in recent days as it was assembled by third party and state inspectors who noted proper assembly, no cracks or excessive wear, no missing bolts. it passed inspection the same day it malfunctioned. do we have any indication yet whether this is equipment failure, operator error? >> we don't know yet. that's part of the investigation. that's what we're doing. >> reporter: today ohio's governor john kasich encouraged people to still come to the fair and said all rides carry a certain level of risk. >> we're looking for guarantees in life. they don't exist.
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>> reporter: investigators will perform what they call an autopsy on the ride, taking it apart to figure out exactly what went wrong. across the country tonight, from new jersey to california, operators of similar rides have halted their use as a precaution. lester? >> blake mccoy, thank you. parts of the kansas city area are still under water tonight from flash flooding caused by as much as 7 inches of rain. firefighters were involved in dozens of rescues around the city. cars became stalled in high water and some were washed away. several roads and highways were shut down. in alaska, the fbi has made an arrest in a murder aboard a popular cruise ship. a woman killed while thousands of others were on board. and tonight the victim's husband is in custody. nbc's miguel almaguer has the chilling details. >> reporter: with the "emerald princess" docked in juneau, alaska, the fbi says a murder was committed at sea. 3,400 passengers were on board the cruise ship as investigators pored over a cabin
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splattered with blood. an affidavit says a witness walked into kenneth manzanares's room where wife kristy was lying on the floor. when asked what happened, he replied "she would not stop laughing at me." investigators say manzanares had blood on his hands and clothing. >> i don't remember the last time we had a murder on a cruise ship in alaska. >> reporter: the utah couple was with their children. authorities took manzanares into custody as he reportedly blurted out, "my life is over." departing seattle sunday, the ship was diverted to juneau, arriving wednesday morning. court documents say one witness watched the suspect grab the victim's body and drag her toward the balcony. brian beckstrom was aboard with his family when he stumbled upon the scene. >> she had just like a white tank top on and some jeans, and the jeans were completely covered in blood. and he came out and
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said, "it's not good." >> reporter: eerily, the cruise offered musical murder mystery trivia the night of the killing, one of several events that evening on the ship. tonight, a husband and father is in custody. the cruise continuing its voyage after a shocking crime at sea. miguel almaguer, nbc news. amazon's ceo became the richest person in the world today, but only for a few hours. a surge in amazon stock prices this morning briefly allowed jeff bezos to claim the title over bill gates with a fortune over $90 billion. but by the end of the day bezos had to settle for second again after amazon reported lower than expected earnings. still ahead tonight, preventing disease by replacing genes in babies before they're born. there's been a major advance in a highly controversial technique. we'll tell you about it. also, they were once the biggest thing in music. the end of an era for some products that used to be all the rage.
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now to a big scientific advance. for the first time researchers here in this country have successfully changed the dna in human embryos as a way of preventing disease. and tonight that advance is causing both awe and alarm. we get more from nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: in a lab in oregon, as scientists fertilized human eggs they also swapped out some dna, correcting defective genes that carry
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disease, proving it is possible to genetically modify human embryos, but fueling a growing debate. >> it's one of those things that i think is inevitable. it's going to be hard to control, hard to regulate because the technology is so accessible. >> reporter: according to m.i.t.'s technology review, which first reported on the breakthrough, the scientists used a technique called crispr already used with partial success in china. essentially a way to cut and paste dna, replacing unwanted genetic information. scientists say it could some day eliminate inherited diseases like some cancers, hemophilia and sickle cell anemia. in bloomfield, new jersey, michael goodwin and his wife are afraid to have children. he has sickle cell. she's a carrier. >> if i could prevent my kid from having to be up in pain and crying 24/7, i would do anything in my power to stop that. >> reporter: but critics worry crispr could be used to create designer babies, selecting hair or eye color and some say there's potential for new mutations or even malicious uses.
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last year former director of national intelligence james clapper called genome editing a potential weapon of mass destruction and congress has banned turning gene-edited embryos into babies. in that lab in oregon the embryos weren't allowed to develop more than a few days, but the debate over what they may have started lives on. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. there's lots more to come here tonight. up next, some controversial new thinking about taking antibiotics.
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for years it's been doctor's orders, when you take antibiotics make sure you finish them even if you feel better. but british researchers are now saying that may not always be necessary. they found, for example, that in people who came down with pneumonia in the hospital a shorter course of antibiotics was just as effective as a longer course. and it was also associated with lower rates of recurrence and antibiotic resistance. but, as they always say -- and this is
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important -- check with your doctor first. in florida there's new police body cam video out tonight showing how officers responded to that fatal accident involving tennis star venus williams. williams has been cleared of any criminal charges, but the victim's family has filed a lawsuit against her. we get more tonight from nbc's kerry sanders. >> contains driver vehicle and insurance information. >> reporter: that's venus williams behind the wheel after the accident. >> you had the right of way, but you kind of lost the right of way. >> in a situation like that, what are you going to do? >> reporter: the just released body camera recordings show palm beach gardens, florida, police at the accident scene discussing if venus williams is at fault. >> she had lost the right of way. she lost the green light. >> reporter: as captured in this surveillance video, the 37-year-old tennis star drove into the intersection where the two cars collided. >> a toyota sequoia. these people need help. >> reporter: the 78-year-old passenger in that other car, jerome barson, died two weeks later from his injuries. despite the officers'
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initial observations, palm beach gardens police released a statement saying venus lawfully entered the intersection. >> i don't see a consequence of citing her. >> is this a case of somebody famous getting special treatment? >> i think if you look at the videos, you can see the amount of time and effort and concern they have for ms. williams as opposed to my clients. >> reporter: as of tonight, venus williams has only spoken once about the accident. >> i'm completely speechless and it's just -- >> reporter: the victim's family says that is not enough. they want an admission of guilt and an apology. kerry sanders, nbc news, palm beach gardens, florida. it's the end of an era for apple. the ipod nano and the ipod shuffle are officially no more. not so long ago both devices were at the forefront of a revolution that changed how we listen to music. but these days with so many just relying on their phones for music, apple has discontinued everything but the ipod touch. when we come back,
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honoring a brave and loyal dog who served his country in war. how a plan for a homeless
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encampment in san jose has city leaders backpedaling. ===terry/take vo=== plus - google, twitter and facebook find themselves in court - the shocking accusations from a bay area family. ===next close=== next. ==jan/take vo== some of the strongest bonds of friendship are forged on the field of battle where, as we've come to know, warriors come in many forms and
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shapes. we end tonight with a story of one such friendship, a marine and the dog who served with him and their bond that touched a michigan community and ended with one final act of love and honor. two proud marines in their dress uniforms taking one final ride after facing the one battle they couldn't win -- cancer. slowly taking lance corporal jeff deyoung's wartime partner, his little brother, cena. >> my whole adult life i've had cena. when i was 19 overseas learning how to be responsible, i had cena. now i'm 27 and i'm having to say good-bye to one of the biggest pieces of my life. >> reporter: hundreds, strangers, friends, all patriots, lined the streets of muskegon to pay tribute to the ailing 10-year-old black lab as he paraded past in an open jeep, much the way he once rode into combat as a bomb-sniffing dog. cena and deyoung served nine months
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together in afghanistan only to be separated upon their return stateside. four years later they were reunited when deyoung was able to adopt cena. >> this dog saved my life. i trust him more than i trust most human beings. >> reporter: the two settled in michigan, where on wednesday, in the last hours of cena's life, the now-retired deyoung reminisced about his four-legged comrade. >> the goofy look that he gets on his face when you open a potato chip bag. whenever i grab his vest off the peg and he gets up and he says, where are we going today? >> reporter: aboard a world war ii tank landing ship where a veterinarian waited to end cena's suffering, deyoung said a private final good-bye to his dear brother warrior. >> all the support and all the love people are giving, he can see it and he can feel it. and he's deserved it. he's not just a dog. he's family and he's a marine just the same. >> awfully tough good-bye to an american hero. we appreciate you spending part of your
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evening with us. that's "nightly news" for this thursday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. people who live in a san neighborhood fought the city -- rating now at 6:00, people who live in a san jose neighborhood fought the city and one. how they stopped a homeless community from moving in and taught city leaders a lesson in the process. good evening. thanks for joining us, i am janelle wang. >> and i am terry mcsweeny. victories. damian trujillo has a story you
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will see only on nbc bay area. >> reporter: this is thousand oaks parks. the city tried to consider a homeless community. there were loud community protests and the neighborhood won. there is a hop in their step today and that is because the earl family and their neighbors can declare victory. the city considered building a homeless community in their park. but angry neighbors near thousand oaks said not here. and last night, they won. councilman said in choosing this site, the city could have.

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